Songwriting: Harmony

author.full_name

Authored by Jimmy Kachulis

|

Course Code: OSONG-316

Now Enrolling for Sept 30 Term Start

Level 3

Level 3

3-Credit Tuition

$1,497

Non-Credit Tuition

$1,250

This course presents the "power progressions" behind countless hit songs, and dozens of ways to adapt these progressions into your own personal songwriting. Whether you are an experienced songwriter looking for new ideas or a beginning songwriter who can't read music, this course will lead you to a rich source of songwriting possibilities. You'll use techniques such as modulation and cadences to craft the essential dramatic architecture of your songs. By participating in a group of songwriters, you'll have the opportunity to share your work with others, get their feedback, and see different ways that these tools can be used, under the mentorship of a master songwriter.

Read More

By the end of this course, you will be able to:

  • Generate a groove and chord colors
  • Identify five common key colors
  • Understand and build songs from power progressions
  • Use melody and harmony for color
  • Use cadences and connecting songs with cadences
  • Understand modulation in songs
Read Less

Syllabus

Lesson 1: Generating A Groove and Chord Colors

  • Parts of a Groove
  • Developing a Groove
  • Four Chord Colors and Lyric Stories
  • Changing Colors of Chords - Variations

Lesson 2: Colors of Keys and Songs From Progression

  • Five Common Keys Colors
  • Building Song By Repetition
  • Contrasting Sections

Lesson 3: Power Progressions

  • Major Key
  • Minor Key
  • Mixolydian Key
  • Dorian Key
  • Blues Key
  • Building Songs From Power Progressions

Lesson 4: Rhythm Variations of Power Progressions

  • Progression Length
  • Chord Rhythm
  • Chord Order

Lesson 5: Song Sections From Rhythm Variations

  • Contrasting Sections
  • Two Sections ­ Two Progressions
  • Three Sections ­ Two Progressions

Lesson 6: Pitch Variations of Power Progressions

  • Subtract Chords
  • Add Chords
  • Replace Chords
  • Add Pedal Parts

Lesson 7: Song Sections From Pitch Variations

  • Contrasting Two Sections
  • Contrasting Three Sections

Lesson 8: Melody and Harmony

  • Coloring a Word
  • Coloring a Phrase
  • Coloring a Lyric Section

Lesson 9: Ways of Coming Home

  • Full Cadences
  • Half Cadences
  • Deceptive Cadences
  • Plagal Cadences
  • Mixed Cadences

Lesson 10: Song Sections Using Cadences

  • Verse/Refrain
  • Verse
  • Chorus
  • Bridge
  • Connecting Sections With Cadences

Lesson 11: Modulation

  • Parallel Key Modulation
  • Relative Modulation
  • Surprising Key Modulation

Lesson 12: Modulation In Songs

  • Modulation In A Section
  • Modulation Between Sections

Requirements

Prerequisites and Course-Specific Requirements 

  • Familiarity with popular music song form
  • Basic proficiency on a harmonic instrument
  • Ability to create a melody (optional)
  • Ability to create original lyrics (optional - will be provided, if needed)

Required Textbook(s)

Software Requirements

  • Word processing program that can open and save documents in Rich Text Format (RTF)
  • A basic audio recording tool that will allow you to record yourself and save the recording in MP3 format. You will have a tool to use for this purpose inside the learning environment. Alternatively, you can use software like Audacity (PC) or GarageBand (Mac) .

After enrolling, please check the Getting Started section of your course for potential deals on required materials. Our Student Deals page also features several discounts you can take advantage of as a current student. Please contact support@online.berklee.edu for any questions.


General Course Requirements

Below are the minimum requirements to access the course environment and participate in live chats. Please make sure to also check the Prerequisites and Course-Specific Requirements section above, and ensure your computer meets or exceeds the minimum system requirements for all software needed for your course. 

Mac Users

PC Users

All Users

  • Latest version of  Google Chrome
  • Zoom meeting software (available in the course when joining your first chat)
  • Webcam
  • Speakers or headphones
  • External or internal Microphone
  • Broadband Internet connection

Instructors

faculty.full_name

Author & Instructor

Jimmy Kachulis teaches songwriting and lyric writing at Berklee, conducts clinics nationwide, and has helped thousands of songwriters develop and maximize their skills. Look through the bios of some of today's best songwriters, and his name comes up again and again; his students' works have earned Grammy nominations, and been recorded by a vast range of artists on major and independent labels. An accomplished composer, arranger and conductor, he has worked with great artists like George Coleman, Jon Hendricks, John Lewis and Martha Reeves, and his compositions have been featured on scores from The Sopranos to Touched By An Angel. Jimmy's songs and arrangements for "Island Breeze", by legendary guitarist, Eric Gale, have been re-released and distributed worldwide under the Warner Brothers label.


faculty.full_name

Instructor

Sarah Brindell is a songwriter, arranger, producer, musician, and Associate Professor at Berklee College of Music. With touring credits around the world, she has shared the stage and recorded with many renowned artists including Norah Jones, Carole King, and Raul Midon. Her original songs can be heard on many television shows including MTV’s Made. She was a finalist in the Song of the Year contest as part of VH-1’s Save the Music Foundation, as well as the Billboard World Song Contest. A Summa Cum Laude graduate from Boston University, she holds a Master's degree in Music Education, and teaches courses in songwriting, harmony, ear training, arranging, and stage performance. She conducts clinics nationwide and internationally, and continually helps thousands of students to reach their full potential as professional musicians and songwriters. To learn more about Sarah Brindell, visit www.sarahbrindell.com.


faculty.full_name

Instructor

Neil Diercks is a Los Angeles-based songwriter, song coach, and musician. He served for many years in various capacities at Warner/Chappell Music, Inc., in Nashville, beginning as an intern and eventually becoming Manager of A&R Activities. It was within this role that he worked with hit songwriters including Gary Burr, Steve Bogard, Stephony Smith, Jeff Stevens, and Victoria Shaw, who penned hits for artists such as Tim McGraw, Garth Brooks, George Strait, Trisha Yearwood, Faith Hill, Ricky Martin, and Christina Aguilera.

Read More

Neil is a Magna Cum Laude graduate of Berklee College of Music, where he studied songwriting, voice, and music business, and went on to serve on the Board of Trustees for three years. He has lectured and led songwriting workshops internationally, and has won several awards for his teaching, including the UPCEA Excellence in Teaching award (2015); the Pearson Excellence In Online Teaching award (2015); The Berklee College of Music Distinguished Faculty Award for Berklee Online (2016). He currently collaborates with songwriters and artists in Los Angeles and around the globe. Read Less

Questions?

Contact our Academic Advisors by phone at 1-866-BERKLEE (U.S.), 1-617-747-2146 (INT'L), or by email at advisors@online.berklee.edu.

We can also answer basic questions in the comments below. Please note that all comments are public.

Comments